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Stars and Stripes Honor Flight: A Beacon of Hope and Healing

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight: A Beacon of Hope and Healing

In our latest installment of the Lindow Charity Spotlight, we turn our attention to the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, Inc. – a beacon of hope and recognition for our nation’s veterans. As a token of our admiration and support, American Advantage Lindow Insurance is proud to donate $2,000 to further their commendable mission. As you delve into the story of the Honor Flight detailed below, we encourage you to consider contributing to this patriotic and transformative cause.

In 2008, the Southeastern Wisconsin chapter of the Wisconsin Honor Flight, known as Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, Inc., embarked on a noble mission: to transport American war veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War to Washington, D.C. While in D.C. the veterans can visit, reflect, heal, and share fellowship at their respective war memorials. For over a decade, the chapter has operated with a profound dedication, ensuring that the heroes of yesteryears receive the recognition, support, and healing they so rightly deserve.

Christy Julius, Vice President of the Southeastern Wisconsin Honor Flight chapter, has been at the heart of this endeavor for over nine years. She has volunteered and worked tirelessly in several roles in the organization. Her personal connection to the cause is deep-rooted. Both of her grandfathers, and her step-grandfather served in pivotal wars, including World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. But it was her son’s involvement with S.A.V.E. (Survivor and Veteran Experiences) at Arrowhead High School that initially drew her in and ignited her passion for Wisconsin Honor Flight’s mission.

For Julius, the experience is transcendent. “Meeting veterans and witnessing the transformative power of the Honor Flight is deeply moving,” she shares. “It not only brings healing to the veterans but also to their families. Relationships that were once strained or broken begin to mend. It’s a powerful testament to the therapeutic nature of gratitude and recognition.”

Korean War era Caucasian veteran returning from a Honor Flight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Image provided by Visual Image Photography, Inc., Bravo-Milwaukee Homecoming, September 10, 2022, image source here, used with permission.

September 9th marks the 70th mission for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight chapter, successfully flying over 9332 veterans to D.C. Each journey reveals the deep-seated emotional scars many veterans carry. This is especially true for Vietnam Veterans, who returned home to a country divided by the war. “Many Vietnam veterans carry with them decades of hurt, stemming from the lack of acknowledgment and appreciation,” Julius explains. “But by the end of the trip, even the most resistant are swept up in the cathartic experience.”

But the chapter’s mission is far from over. In a renewed drive, the Southeastern Wisconsin Honor Flight is making concerted efforts to reach out to minority veterans, particularly from the Vietnam era. Statistics reveal that these veterans served in higher numbers in combat zones. “We’re reaching out to community partners like the Bucks, Brewers, and Packers to spread the word that this experience is available and free of charge,” Julius enthuses. This outreach has been bolstered by a generous donation from the Greater Milwaukee community, ensuring that any veteran signing up for the Honor Flight by the end of the year can have a companion fly with them for free.

African American veteran shaking hands at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport after returning from an Honor Flight.

Image provided by Visual Image Photography, Inc., Bravo-Milwaukee Homecoming, September 10, 2022, image source here, used with permission.

A landmark event, the “Flight of Champions,” is scheduled for October. Sponsored by the Packers, Bucks, and Brewers, the event promises to be an amazing affair. “Upon arriving in D.C., all participants will convene and interact with representatives from each team,” Julius reveals with excitement.

The chapter’s success can be attributed to its unwavering dedication and its all-volunteer model. “From top to bottom, we’re completely volunteer-driven. We have no paid staff, no office, and incredibly low overhead,” Julius proudly states. “This ensures that 97 cents of every dollar we receive directly furthers our mission.”

As the Southeastern Wisconsin Honor Flight continues its commendable work, it stands as a beacon of hope, healing, and recognition for veterans who’ve given so much for their country.  Support our veterans and consider donating to this patriotic cause today!

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